Machine Quilting Blog Hop

#MachineQuiltingBlogHop: Week 7 :: Exploding Star

Good morning!

Welcome back to Week 7 of the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop where Jen, Kristin, Vicki, and I are working our way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson. I've committed to practicing five days each week, and I keep a log of what I do and learn each day. It's been 7 wonderful weeks, and I love sharing with y'all! As always, we'd love to see what you're quilting, too, so use the hashtag #machinequiltingbloghop to share your work!

Week 7, Day 1:

I thumbed through the next chapter. I know there are other designs that I'll practice later in the week, but I spotted SWIRLS, so I'm back at work on Modern Birds in the Air. 

Week 7, Day 2

SWIRLS SWIRLS SWIRLS! YAY! Seriously, even as imperfect as these are, I LOVE the effect it's creating on this quilt. 

Detail shot of Samson by David Gilleland

Detail shot of Samson by David Gilleland

Week 7, Day 3

I went to the Georgia Celebrates Quilts preview party last night! I still can't believe that I have two quilts hanging in the show! I got to spend part of the evening with fellow blog-hopper Jen, and we enjoyed examining quilts together, oohing and aahing over various quilting motifs, combinations, etc. The one that really caught our eye, though, was David Gilliland's microstippling on his quilt Samson. It was so tight and dense that it looked like snow on the background. Naturally, I had to come up with an excuse to try it. Fortunately, it also solved a problem I had with Modern Birds in the Air as far as having several different densities of quilting and wanting to make the birds "pop." I only did a little bit of experimenting tonight, but I can already tell that I'm going to love this!

You'll see above that I've shared shots of my feedback from the judges this week. I share these as another way to play my "broken record" of the value of practice. I made "Murmuration 2.0" in September/October 2016. I pieced "Georgia" in January and quilted it as part of this hop. The improvement in both scores and comments on these quilts communicates to me that I'm improving, that all this practice is paying off!

Week 7, Day 4

I finished the swirls! woohoo! Plus, to my eye at least, the improvement in my swirls over the course of this quilt is glaringly, wonderfully obvious. And my friend Andi complimented my generally quilting improvement today, and it meant the world! Learning to machine quilt is like working out. For weeks and weeks, you're the only one who can see or feel any changes. Then, slowly, those closest to you start to notice. Then, one day, almost all at once, random people start to notice. I'm somewhere in the middle now, and it's so exciting!

I did some more of that microstippling today, too, and am still totally in love with the effect. Plus I added some echoes on the zig zags in the tail. This is going to make the center block sing! Now I just have to track down some more of that Sulky 1030 Rayon because I seem to have acquired the only spool my Joann every stocked. Anyone know an Atlanta quilt shop that carries Sulky Rayon?

Week 7, Day 5

First up, more stippling and echoes. I wanted to have a little piece of the center block done for a photo. Seeing how gorgeous it is is also good motivation to continue with this madness. When I told my fellow blog hoppers that I was going to attempt the snow-effect micro stippling, Jen responded right away: "Crazy girl!" As usual, she's right! ha! But I was right, too-- it's going to be worth it!

While I was working on Modern Birds in the Air, I also basted the Operation Smiley Quilt that has been languishing for a couple of weeks. I had planned to baste and start quilting it a few days ago, but then microstippling happened. Anyway, I did just a bit of work on it tonight. I started a walking foot spiral somewhat off center. I already like it! Emboldened by the thread choice of my swirls, I broke out of my yellow thread rut for these quilts and am using navy instead. I'm less sure about that than the spirals at the moment, but that's okay. 

Above: Early swirls on MBitA on the left, and more refined swirls from this week on MBitA on the right. 

Whew! I am so thrilled with all the quilting I got done this week, even though 98% of it was on just one quilt, Modern Birds in the Air (Thanks for bearing with all these quite similar detail shots!). I received a number of wonderful compliments this week, including several on Instagram today, about the improvement that is showing in my quilting. And, as Jen again aptly remarked, "I guess Angela was right." Indeed, my practice really is making a difference! I'm so glad that I committed to a certain number of practice days per week, even if some of those days only include 10-20 minutes of stitching, because I think that has made more of a difference than if I quilted an hour or two only a couple of times each week. Consistency feels key. And, even though I can still see the flaws in my work, I feel so much joyful pride in the stitches I've been making because I know that they are being earned by practice. 

Thank you, everyone, for continuing on this journey with all of us blog hoppers! Be sure to visit Jen, Kristin, and Vicki to read about their #machinequiltingbloghop adventures as well. And don't forget to use that same hashtag to tag your own work, too. I love featuring a different person who is sticking with us in my Newsletter each week! Finally, keep reading, because there will be a giveaway coming up! Yay!

Until next week, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram @stringandstory, and I'd love for you to join me for my Saturday morning coffee and quilty talk Newsletter, too. 

Happy stitching, my friends,


PS Click the badge below for links to all the blog hoppers, interviews with Christa and Angela, links to previous weeks, and more!

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